Chapter 9:

Interlude Three: Thaddeus


Monday – 22:00

Thaddeus stood in a beautiful garden, flowers blooming and the sun brightly shining. He looked around to get his bearings, but he had absolutely no idea where he was, let alone what he was doing there.

Well, standing here won't help.

He picked a direction at random and started walking. Thaddeus walked for what seemed like hours before noticing that he wasn't getting tired despite the long walk.

What the heck is going on here?

It was like he didn't make any headway since he started. Everything looked exactly the same, and even the sun was in the same position as before.

Am I.....dead? Or is this a dream? Does it even matter?

A bunch of similar questions popped up in Thaddeus' head. However, there was nobody around to answer his questions this time.

Okay, think! What's the last thing I can recall? I a truck, and I was...that's right! I was on a mission with Tobias. Then...that's right! The wheel popped. We must have crashed after the truck lost control.

That still didn't explain if he was dead or unconscious. But it didn't matter. He didn't mind staying in this garden forever. It was so peaceful.

Suddenly, the dream changed.

He saw a younger version of himself eating dinner at home with his parents. It was his favorite dinner: Macaroni and Cheese.

"Mom and dad," his doppelganger said. "Can I please get a video game console for my birthday next week? Pretty please! I saw my friends playing a game on it where you had to capture creatures to train, and then use them to defeat other creatures held by different people. It looked like so much fun. Please! I won't ask for anything else ever again, I promise."

His mom shared dad shared a look. "You know what our policy of television and video games. They aren't good for you and we won't allow one in this house. We can get you a Lego set though? You love those."

"It's not fair," the young kid complained, starting to cry. I do all of my homework and get good grades. Why can't I use the extra free time how I want? It's not fair."

His dad, who didn't have the heart to deal with tears, quickly stepped in. "It's okay. Don't worry about it. Just because we don't allow those devices in this house, that doesn't mean that you can't go to your friend's house to play there. I am sure that many of them have a spare device to lend you. If not, we can buy you one which you can keep at their house."

The kid stopped crying. "Thanks so much, dad! I promise I won't bring it to the house. Yay!"

The kid, now appeased, began digging into his dinner, missing the silent conversation that his mom and dad had with their eyes. After a couple of seconds, they started eating as well, and they started joking around and having fun. It was times like this that the boy loved the most.

His family finished dinner, and the boy went to his room. He picked a book from the shelf and read late into the night until his mother came in with a cup of cold water alongside a couple of pills. After swallowing the pills, she kissed his forehead and told him to put the book away and try sleeping. The boy had a later bedtime than most kids his age due to his condition, but his mother still insisted that he try. His parents truly loved him and cared about his health.

I hope I am dreaming. But is this what dreams feel like? I have been missing out on such amazing nighttime experiences all this time! I wouldn't mind getting into more accidents if I could experience dreams like this each time. They are so serene. Everyone else is so lucky to be able to dream whenever they want.

I wish I could stay like this forever. I never want to wake up.

Right as he thought those words, the relaxing scene started fading away, and in seconds he was left in pitch blackness.

Of course, I jinxed myself. After warning Tobias about that, I go ahead and do the same thing. Stupid!

A new scene started to materialize, and it was one that he vividly remembered. He saw another version of himself standing in front of a crosswalk, and a little girl was holding an ice cream cone in the middle of the street. She had stopped to pick up a few dolls left abandoned on the ground. Meanwhile, a truck was veering down on her.

The event was still fresh in his memory, and he knew what was coming.

"Save her!" Thaddeus yelled at his younger self.

But his past self didn't move. He just stood there as if afraid to try to save the girl, even though he would clearly reach her in time if he tried. But he wasn't moving.

"Don't worry about yourself," Thaddeus shouted again. "You need to save that girl. That's what anybody would do!"

The other version of himself turned towards him, tears streaming from his eyes. He still wasn't moving. The car was about to reach the girl.

"SAVE HER NOW!!!" Thaddeus screamed at the top of his lungs. "I BEG YOU!!! PLEASE SAVE HER!!!"

But it was too late. The truck and the girl vanished in a puff of smoke; an ice cream cone and dolls were all that remained.

Thaddeus dropped to his knees, eyes staring at where the girl previously stood. His other self fell to his knees at the same time, sobbing loudly. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"

Perhaps it's not a bad thing that I don't dream about anything. I'm not sure I could last even a week with dreams like that. It would take a far stronger man than myself to endure that pain consistently.

The scene melted away once more, leaving everything as dark and empty as he felt at that moment. Thaddeus stood in the blackness with just one thought on his mind, repeating over and over.

I don't want to dream anymore. I want to wake up.